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Gastroparesis and advice for teens

Education

Symptoms, hospitalizations, and fatigue can make it hard to focus and attend classes. This can lead to school absences ranging from days to weeks, but it is vital that you still get a good education

Handy tips:

  • Communicate with your teachers: In these instances, it is important to communicate your health situation with your teachers so that they can support and assist you as much as possible.Ask your doctor to write a letter to your school coordinator stating how your condition will impact your studies (e.g., nutrition issues, fatigue, concentration).  
  • Get in touch with the disability coordinator: Most school and tertiary institutions have a disability coordinator. The disability coordinator can convene with your teachers, and collaboratively you can devise a plan to manage school work and assignments during disease flare ups.
  • Research flexible schooling options: Other more flexible schooling options, such as distance education, exist. Theseeliminate the need to be physically present in a classroom.
  • Apply for the Educational Access Scheme (EAS): If you are sitting exams to obtain a University Admissions Index (UAI) you can apply for the EAS (Educational Access Scheme). It may allow for flexibility in the cut off for many university courses and it also flags you to Student Equity and Disability at the university you accept an offer to.

Friendships

Feeling embarrassed by gastroparesis can lead to an unwillingness to disclose struggles and chat openly. This can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

Handy tips:

  • Use language you are comfortable with. If you don’t want to go into specifics about your condition then you can use terms like ‘chronic illness’ instead.
  • Educate your friends: Print out some pamphlets on gastroparesis to give to your friends so that they can have a better understanding of what your illness is all about.  
  • Change your perspective: If you had a friend who was ill, think about how you would react and the kind of support you would offer.
  • Join a support group (e.g., ChiPS – chronic illness peer support for adolescents aged 12-25).

Transition from paediatric doctor to adult doctor

Transitioning from paediatric to adult GI or hospital system is not an easy task. Ending a close and trusting relationship and beginning a new and unknown one can be quite overwhelming.

Handy tips:

  • Interview potential new doctors
  • Discuss health care transition with your paediatric doctor; don’t be afraid to express how you are feeling. 

Body image

Due to the nature of gastroparesis, and its treatment, individuals can feel anxious about their body and how they think of it, and also how they think other individuals see it. If you are concerned about your body image, talk to someone about your concerns. Often your concerns can be allayed after talking to a partner, or trusted family member or friend. If you continue to worry and it has a negative impact on your everyday life, please talk to a doctor about what options are available to resolve this concern.




MORE LINKS

If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBSclinic.org.au for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBDclinic.org.au for individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

DISCLAIMER

This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

© 2014 Swinburne University of Technology | CRICOS number 00111D